Mazda’s latest plan to increase MPG involves reviving the rotary

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Mazda rotary engine deconstructed Mazda

We’d heard rumblings of a rotary revival, but we now have official word from Mazda that its famed spinning Dorito engine will live on. In a recent press release, the Japanese automaker shared its grand plan for increasing efficiency and reducing emissions over the next 30 years. In this plan it laid out a most interesting timeline for mass electrification.

It would appear that Mazda is going all-in on hybridizing its lineup, as it anticipates many of its vehicles to have “some form of electrification” by the year 2030. In addition, two electric vehicles are on the way in the short term—one running only on battery and the other with a range-extending engine. And what powerplant fits the bill for compact, smooth, and lightweight better than the legendary Wankel rotary?

Other highlights include Mazda’s continued focus on “the joy of driving” through its efforts to keep weight down and fun up. This, combined with the company’s plan of increased connectivity, aims to provide a car focusing on “human traits and sensibilities,” which is a good thing as I presume humans will be the primary customers of these future cars. Unless the robot empire has overthrown us by that time.

So yes, the rotary looks poised to make a triumphant return. But to the dismay of enthusiasts, the little-engine-that-could is still years away and only available in a plug-in package. Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see if this new rotary engine will live up to its Zoom-Zoom heritage.

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